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Human Amusements

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Offering further evidence of his astounding range as a novelist, the bestselling author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York crafts a hilarious and moving paean to the dawn of the television age. Henry Prendergast grew up on television—not merely watching it, but starring in the wildly popular children’s show “Rumpus Room.” Cast in the roles of ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 13th 2004 by Anchor (first published 1994)
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Nov 07, 2014 Myra rated it liked it
I have my daughter, Jill, who's an avid Wayne Johnston fan, to thank for another good recommendation from this prolific, entertaining author. Johnston accurately captures the bittersweet nuances of a family's interactions with each other and the world around them as they experience a huge success in the field of television production. His vivid descriptive language evokes both humour and poignancy in the reader as we empathize with the Prendergast family's struggle to survive the turmoil of fame ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Jan 11, 2015 Benjamin Kahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many years ago, and yet I still remember it fairly well. It was a very enjoyable book, with interesting characters. I couldn't help but feel a lot of sympathy for Audrey as a lot of her actions were done with her family in mind, but were not appreciated by her husband, Peter, and their son, Henry. Henry is drawn more to his underachieving father than to his overachieving mother, which leads to a schism in the family.

I found Peter's attitude towards his wife's endeavours and his
Nov 25, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
A wonderful look at the ways in which we deal with our world, with each other, with our self-image, with the way others look at us. Excellently drawn characters, multi-level storytelling, often laugh-out-loud funny.

My mission to read at least one book by at least one faculty member at each school I'm applying to is uncovering some truly enjoyable reads.
Aug 10, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Wonderful, very funny book about a family caught up in the early days of television. It's told from the perspective of a young boy whose mother pushes him first into a recurring role on a children's show (he's the Bee Good/Bee Bad character who illustrates the right and wrong way to do everything), and then into a teenage part as Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television. the mother is good -- tightly wound and very fallible -- but the father is one of the best fictional characters I've read ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Keith rated it liked it
Shelves: canadiana, fiction, 2008
Much different than Johnston's later books, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Custodian of Paradise , two of my all-time favorites, this amusing and poignant look at the a child star and his family in the early days of TV is a sharp illustration of the cult of the celebrity being dropped on those too young to understand it.
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Oct 23, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it
Wayne Johnston is a consistently great writer. This book is a little lighter than some of his others I've read. I had some outright belly laughs in the beginning, and while the middle/end are still humorous, it is becoming a bit darker.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 18, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
Now here is a book about showbiz that never takes itself too seriously...yet manages to make some profound observations along the way.
Aug 02, 2012 Trudie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
His book Colony of Unrequited Dreams is one of my all-time favorites. I was kind of disappointed with this book.
Jan 10, 2008 Sara rated it it was ok
This book started out promising and ended OK but it was really the same thing over and over and got dull.
Apr 06, 2011 Claire rated it it was ok
Not worth the effort of reading. Irritating characters, nothing much happens.
Jan 08, 2008 Louise rated it it was ok
Had its good points, but not as good as I hoped.
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